What does a Charge Nurse do?
Charge nurses typically work for hospitals or medical facilities. They coordinate with other nurses and hospital staff to determine organized measures to best care for their patients. Their job is to create shift schedules for ward nurses and act as a point of leadership for a team of healthcare professionals. Charge nurses typically act as a liaison for families of admitted patients, providing them with updates about their loved one’s condition and the methods used for treatment. They may also perform typical nurse duties like administering IVs and medications, changing gauze and feeding patients.
Charge Nurse skills and qualifications
A Charge Nurse uses many patient care skills and soft skills to provide the most comprehensive support to patients, their families and medical staff. These skills and qualifications often include:
- Expert knowledge of best nursing practices in general and for specific populations, such as children or the elderly
- In-depth understanding of hospital procedures and protocols
- Effective and professional communication techniques, including writing and speaking
- Personable and compassionate personality
- Excellent critical thinking and quick problem-solving skills
- Great organization, time management and multitasking abilities
- Leadership skills, like training, goal-setting and motivation
- Physically strong and able to work on their feet for long periods of time
Charge Nurse salary expectations
Charge Nurses make an average of $26.13 per hour. This pay rate depends on level of education, experience and geographical location.
Charge Nurse education and training requirements
A Charge Nurse must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an approved nursing program. They must also have passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to be certified to practice as an RN. Certification in emergency measures, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, basic life support measures or advanced cardiac life support are also necessary.
Voluntary certification in specialty areas is a plus, such as pediatrics or emergency care. Some candidates may also be required to have a graduate degree in health services administration.
Charge Nurse experience requirements
Charge Nurses are generally required to have several years of work experience as an RN and a track record of excellent patient care. Previous work experience in a supervisory role is beneficial as well. Many organizations prefer to hire a Charge Nurse who has worked both in general nursing and a specialty area.
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